In 1792 the Reverend John Rooker (1755-1840) and his wife, Anna Hawkins Rooker, along with 11 friends joined to found Sugar Creek Baptist Church of Christ. It later became known as Flint Hill Baptist Church, named for the huge outcropping of flint rock located in front.
Reverend Rooker, a Revolutionary War veteran, had joined the church in 1782 and began to preach in Warren County, N.C. the next year. He wrote a book, An Essay on the Sovereignty of God, published in Charleston in 1839, in which he stated his belief in, “the sovereignty of the Triune God, His everlasting covenant of redemption for his elect in Jesus Christ, the depravity of fallen man, the final perseverance unto eternal glory and endless felicity.” The only known copy of his book remains in the Baptist Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.
Beginning in 1793, the church made efforts to extend its ministry to the Catawba Indians. A school was established for the Indians across Sugar Creek on the Lancaster County side. A converted Pamunkey Indian, Robert Marsh, served for many years as assistant pastor of Flint Hill and as a missionary to the Catawbas.
By 1837 Rev. Rooker was infirm and Rev. James Thomas came to assist him. But one Sunday, no pastor came to the church so people went to the home of Rooker. There he preached what is believed to be his last sermon, title, “Finally, Brethren Farewell,” In all, Rev. Rooker served Flint Hill for 48 years. The church carried out the instructions of his will, to be buried in the northwest corner of the church’s graveyard.
Building and grounds
The first church building was log, replaced by a larger log building in 1811. The land was leased from the Catawba Indians until 1840. In 1828 a frame building encompassed the log building. The church grew and by 1855 it was necessary to erect a larger building, a frame structure that measured 60 feet by 40 feet. That served until the present building was completed in 1908. A parsonage, renovation of the sanctuary and education building were added in later years.
The large, well-kept cemetery is a point of pride. Buried there are over 200 veterans from all American wars; nearly half from the Civil War.
— by Louise Pettus